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blessings OPERATION BLESSING

AUGUST 2019

Stories of how YOU help the hurting around the world.

YOU’RE

sending comfort IN THE STORMS OF LIFE! P A G E

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PRAYERS OF WEARY SINGLE MOTHER ANSWERED

YOU GAVE NEW LIFE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

YOU PROVIDED BRIGHT SMILES FOR HAITIAN KIDS

P A G E

P A G E

P A G E

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Happenings

4 6 10 2

Catch up with the goings-on at Operation Blessing!

Prayers of Weary Single Mother Answered

Cori was beginning to run out of hope when you stepped into her life

You Gave New Life to Human Trafficking Victims

An anti-trafficking program and recovery home is rescuing girls in Thailand


Inside this this issue issue

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You’re Sending Comfort in the Storms of Life

Safe water for a mother in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai

16 19 22

On the Front Lines Helping Venezuelan Refugees

A field report by Roberto Torres

Finding Joy in the Midst of the Dayton Tornado

You sent encouragement and help after their devastating nightmare

You Provided Bright Smiles for Haitian Kids

Bringing dental health to rural communities

operationblessing.org | 977 Centerville Turnpike, Virginia Beach, VA 23463 | (800) 730-2537 3


OPERATION BLESSING

HAPPENINGS GUATEMALA: Thanks to the support of faithful partners like you, these

kids are enjoying a new handwashing station and clean water at their school.

INDIA: A patient consults with

a doctor at Bangalore Baptist Hospital. Because of OB friends like you, people from rural areas in India receive access to basic medical care.

OHIO: Faithful Operation

Blessing volunteers gather to help victims recover from a powerful EF-4 tornado. (See more on page 19)

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HAITI: Because of support from you, Operation Blessing’s Dora Nemere

shows Haitians how to use a SE-200 chlorine generator to treat their water for safety.

ZIMBABWE: Thanks to your

support, a water filter provides clean water after Cyclone Idai contaminated local water sources. (See more on page 12)

PERU: These

microenterprise beneficiaries show off their new sign and materials thanks to your generosity!

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TEXAS

PRAY ERS

OF WEARY SINGLE MOTHER ANSWERED Cori was beginning to run out of hope when you stepped into her life

C

ori has lived through the kind of tragedy that can easily break the human spirit. She lost her husband in a drive-by shooting and her home to a house fire shortly after. Yet it was the devotion a mother

has to her children that kept her going. After the tragedies, Cori decided her family needed a change of scene. She loaded up a moving truck with her 9-year-old son, Hunter, and the two took off for Texas. “I was shaking for the whole drive. I felt like I had PTSD. I was exhausted,� she said. But Cori held onto hope that a fresh start in a new place would refresh her outlook on life.

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Cori was also struggling

However, the new start quickly became a heavy burden for Cori to

emotionally. She realized her need

carry alone. She found employment

for a support system, someone she

at an airplane and auto parts factory,

could lean on through her trials.

but this meant waking up at 3:00 a.m.

“You’re trying to grasp for anything

every day to make it to work on

you can to hold on to, and it’s like,

time. Despite long hours and little

there’s nothing else,” she remembers

spending, finances were still tight.

thinking. “I need a mentor; I need

Bills began to pile up, and Cori

to get plugged in somewhere.”

wondered how she would pay them all. It often came down to deciding

You’re trying to grasp for anything you can to hold on to, and it’s like, there’s nothing else. –CORI

between food and electricity. “I had to say, ‘I don’t know, Lord. You’re going to have to take care of this bill because I didn’t see that one coming.’ I didn’t have anything,” she said.

v

Continued on page 8

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Continued from page 7

Her prayers were answered

and encouragement.

when Cori found Operation Blessing’s distribution partner, Hill Country Daily Bread. She began to receive groceries for free every week! Relief filled her when Cori realized this meant her income could go towards paying bills and taking care of her son’s other needs. Your generosity makes it possible for OB to send these resources and Between the support and food,

supplies to people in need. Hunter is now flourishing.

Cori said, “I don’t know where I

He’s blessed by the nutritious meals.

would’ve seen myself without that.

In addition, Cori also receives the

It makes a huge difference in a

spiritual support she needs. She

single mom’s household to have a

now meets with a mentor from

stable, reliable plate on the table.

Hill Country for regular prayer

... Thank you!”

INCOME SECURITY IN AN UNCERTAIN ECONOMY Establish a Charitable Gift Annuity that pays you a fixed income for life. • Delivers immediate partially tax-free benefits • Supports the poor and hurting through Operation Blessing • Minimum gift amount is $10,000 Contact Planned Giving to receive your illustrated guide showing your payment rate and benefits at 800-730-2537, by email at PlannedGiving@OB.org, or visit OB.plannedgiving.org.


ARE YOU PREPARED FOR

HURRICANE SEASON? Stay alert to the news.

With the availability of hurricane tracking, it’s easier to prepare for them than other disasters. Usually, there is at least a day of warning before a hurricane.  

Keep an emergency kit

including water, non-perishable foods, medications, infant supplies, pet supplies, copies of important documents, insurance information, and key telephone numbers. 

Have an emergency plan with your family. Know the evacuation zones for your area. Decide at what degree of danger you would evacuate, destination options, and evacuation routes. 

Prepare fresh batteries for flashlights, electrical lanterns, and a battery-operated radio or TV to receive weather and emergency information.

Pay attention to watches and warnings

Evacuate early, if you decide to leave, to avoid traffic congestion.

Track storms to see their approach and whether or not your area will be affected.

If you stay during a serious hurricane, prepare sand bags, window boards, and other protection items as needed.

issued by the National Weather Service.

Secure all outside plants, furniture and items

not bolted to the ground for protection from high winds—and to keep them from becoming dangerous projectiles.

Volunteer now to help victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, and other natural disasters in the U.S.

ob.org/volunteer

*And for more great tips on disaster prep, go to ob.org/disaster-prep


THAILAND

YOU GAVE NEW LIFE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS An anti-trafficking program and recovery  home is rescuing girls in Thailand 

L

et’s take a trip to the Mekong region of Thailand. In this

this region, you’ll see a bright

river basin area full of forests,

spot in the troubling situation.

wetlands, and rare wildlife,

Through Operation Blessing’s

you’ll find yourself surrounded

partnership with New Life Center

by a rich tapestry of tribes,

Foundation, YOU are making

cultures and languages as well.  

a huge difference in the lives

You’ll also notice that as the

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But as you continue to explore

of trafficked, exploited and

modern world collided with

vulnerable young women in

ancient tribes in this beautiful

Thailand. Thanks to your

region, problems developed. 

support, the center provides a

When Mekong became more

home, medical care, counseling,

urbanized, poverty levels rose

advocacy, and skills training

in the villages. Today, young

to help the girls start a brand

women often leave their homes

new life. The center also

in search of work, but without

conducts anti-trafficking

being fluent in the Thai

campaigns and holds classes

language—and in many cases

in vocational skills. This

not having legal citizenship

helps protect other village girls

papers—these girls become targets

from ever falling prey to human

for human traffickers.

traffickers in the first place. 


“I fe l t i r r ep ar ab l e , like a piece of glass t h at ha d b e e n s ha t t e r e d . ”

LAINA, AGE 13

Laina* arrived at New Life after being sexually abused and

healthy ways to think and gaining confidence in my own value.”

giving birth to a child at the tender age of 11. When she arrived, she felt worthless. She said,  “I felt irreparable, like a piece of glass that had been shattered.”   But thanks to the care and support you provided through Operation Blessing and New Life, Laina has come a long way over the past two years. She’s experienced restoration through counseling and therapeutic

That’s the difference you’ve made

activities. She’s learning to read,

in the lives of Laina and so many

write, sew and bake. Laina now

other girls like her. Thank you for

says, “I’m finding clarity and relief

partnering with Operation Blessing

about [what] happened, and about

to support such vital and life-changing

my own feelings. I’m learning new,

programs around the world.   *Name changed to protect identity 11


Young Simon and his mom were left devastated by Cyclone Idai after it destroyed their community and water system. You were there when he needed you most!


ZIMBABWE

YOU’RE

sending comfort IN THE STORMS OF LIFE

Safe water for a mother in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai

When Cyclone Idai struck Zimbabwe, many homes along the river banks flooded or were swept away in the storm. Residents who survived found their water sources destroyed or contaminated. Even those on higher ground suffered severe damage.  Single mother Idah lives in the hillside village of Mwadzinga, but her mud hut and a large portion of her crops were wiped out by the powerful cyclone. Nonetheless, she pressed on, trying to farm her land and single-handedly rebuild her home for herself and her precious young son, Simon.  The one thing she couldn’t fix on her own was the water. Previously, Idah and others in her village had used water piped to them from higher in the hills. But the storm had destroyed their water system.  Continued on page 14

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Continued from page 13

“When I saw you coming to help it felt like HOPE was restored, and the LIGHT that had dimmed within me LIT UP again.” –Idah, cyclone victim Without the system of pipes, the

cyclone victims in Zimbabwe,

water laid stagnant, allowing dangerous because of your support, we were able and even deadly bacteria, parasites

to quickly respond with the help they

and malaria carrying mosquitoes to

needed. You sent a safe water specialist

flourish. It also filled with debris as

to the area. You also provided filters

it was used by villages higher in the

and chlorine tablets to purify the water

hills, turning the water to nasty,

for villagers like Idah and Simon.  

brown sludge along the way.   Due to her strenuous farm work in

Not only are they now enjoying safe, clean water, but thanks to

the hot African sun, Idah had no

you, Idah has recovered. And the

choice but to drink large quantities

dangerous waterborne illnesses aren’t

of the dirty water. She said, “Every

spreading anymore. These safe water

day I become more and more ill. For 

solutions will provide their community

two weeks I was too weak and sick to

with up to a year’s worth of healthy

do anything. I barely had the strength

water. That will give authorities in the

to get up. I was afraid that I would die.”   region lots of time to repair the water system and get back on their feet.   Idah said, “When I saw you coming to help us, it felt like hope was restored, and the light that had dimmed within me lit up again. …  Thank you very much for coming to But thankfully, YOU stopped that

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assist us. May God give

from happening! When Operation

you peace and may you continue to

Blessing received a request to help

help other people.” 


COLOMBIA

ON THE FRONT LINES HELPING VENEZUELAN REFUGEES A field report by Roberto Torres from the Colombian border

The smell of feces lingered

F

for thousands of Venezuelan refugees,

in the humid air of the

but on this day, the staggering need

decrepit, open-air shelter where

brazenly stared us down at the resting

Venezuelan families stopped to

place in Bochalema. A foul, murky river

recover from the strenuous

was the huddle spot for the bedraggled

three-to-five-day walking journey.

migrants to soak their feet, and,

lies buzzed all around.

Forced by the socioeconomic collapse and humanitarian crisis in their country, these Venezuelan refugees had crossed into Cúcuta, Colombia, and had walked up the perilous Colombian mountainside— malnourished, dehydrated, and in need of basic medical aid.

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This is the heart-wrenching reality

shockingly, to fill up their water bottles.


Rober to Tor res was on the g round in C olombia at the Ve nez uelan borde r, helping O peration Blessing respond to the need s of re f ugees , whe re he met young Emmanuel.

Children were drinking from

I told him, “Your name means ‘God

this polluted river, and the majority

is with us’. Emmanuel, I want you to

were suffering from diarrhea and

know that no matter how hard it gets,

stomach infections.

in all this suffering and hardship, God

As my colleagues from Operation

is with you. Jesus is not going to leave

Blessing began to set up a high-tech

you. You can pray to Him, and God

water filtration system to provide clean

will answer you because He loves you.”

drinking water, a young Venezuelan boy by the name of Emmanuel began to chat with me. I asked him if he knew the meaning of his name. He smiled and said he didn’t.  Looking straight into his eyes, Continued on page 18

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Continued from page 17

A few minutes later, he was drinking from the water filtration

Colombia and neighboring countries, clean drinking water is paramount.

system, which pumped the polluted river water and converted it to clean, potable water.  On this day, Emmanuel and hundreds of other Venezuelan children saw the love of God in a real, tangible way. Our words were not empty; they were life-giving and provided a vital resource for their survival. This was possible, thanks to

my wife, to a safe home, to running

the generous support of Operation

water, I can’t forget Emmanuel’s face.

Blessing partners who, like you, have

I want him to continue experiencing

joined our mission to demonstrate

that God is truly with him. We have

God’s love by alleviating human need

the privilege and opportunity to show

and suffering around the world.

him and thousands of others the

Yet the need is ever growing. As Emmanuel and thousands of Venezuelan refugees travel for hundreds of miles to cities in 18

Coming back home to Virginia, to

truth of Jesus’ comforting presence in the midst of adversity and suffering.  Thank you for not forgetting Emmanuel and standing with us.


OHIO

Finding Joy

IN THE MIDST OF THE DAYTON TORNADO You sent encouragement and help after their devastating nightmare

W

hen you have a 10-year-old daughter as joyful as Shiloh, it’s hard to feel down. Even if less than one week ago you narrowly escaped a devastating EF-4 tornado, only to be left with fallen trees and

mounds of debris strewn across your yard. Debris so thick you can hardly take a step without stumbling. None of these things broke the spirit of Nicole, a 45-year-old single mom in Dayton, Ohio. The only thing that brought her to tears was talking about her daughter, Shiloh, and how much she loved her. The night of the storm, rain fell hard, and hail banged against the windows. Nicole was upstairs with Shiloh and her older son, Jimmy. Their TV was turned off, and she didn’t hear any alerts come across her phone. But she started to become concerned as the storm grew worse. Continued on page 20 19


She got up to look out the

tornado damage. Trees lined Nicole’s

window, and as soon as she did,

lawn, many snapped in half and

she was startled by a loud cracking

strewn in pieces across the ground.

noise. The family hurried down to

A massive blue spruce in the

the basement together just as the

backyard was uprooted and lying on

storm hit full force. “You could hear

its side. Nicole’s family couldn’t even

the transformers popping,” Nicole

get off their street because a huge tree

recalled. “It almost sounded like

blocked the entire road.

gunshots: pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.” Meanwhile, down the street,

Anita had more damage to her actual home. Although insurance

Nicole’s retired mother endured her

would help with the house, she also

own intense experience with the

had a smashed shed and debris that

storm. Anita, 73, didn’t know the

she could never manage on her own

tornado was on top of her. The only

and lots of rubble to sort through.

reason she woke up was the sound

But, thanks to your support,

of breaking glass. That sound might

Operation Blessing rushed in to

have saved her life. Moments after

help the community of Dayton

she got up, a tree came crashing

with disaster aid. As our volunteers

through her roof right over her bed,

walked up to Nicole’s house, we could

leaving it covered in heavy debris and

see the relief wash over her face.

branches. Anita believes that the Lord

Someone had come to her rescue.

saved her life.

We prayed with her, encouraged her, and then got right to work. We took

“It made me tingle inside because you’re just a group of people here to help. I’ve felt nothing but joy all day.” –Nicole

a chainsaw to those heavy limbs and hauled off the debris. By the time our volunteers finished, a giant wall of branches was piled high on the edge of her front yard ready for pickup. “It made me tingle inside,” Nicole

The next morning the three generations of ladies faced significant

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said, “because you’re just a group of people here to help. I’ve felt nothing


but joy all day. This is the most

“Please donate. They need it so

normal I’ve felt in over a week. I’m so

they can bless others like me.”

thankful.” While we worked, Nicole

Thank you for your prayers

told us about her mother, and we

and support for Dayton, Ohio.

quickly sent help to Anita as well.

Without you, precious ladies like

Anita said, “They were like angels.

Anita, Nicole, and young Shiloh

It was like I’d known them forever.

wouldn’t have gotten the help they

They’re God’s people.” She also said,

so desperately need.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING THE VICTIMS OF THE VIRGINIA BEACH SHOOTING On Friday, May 31, 2019, 12 members of the Virginia Beach community were shot and killed while at work in the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. Four others survived but were badly injured. Your support is aiding the victims of this tragedy.


HAITI ALABAMA

YOU PROVIDED

BRIGHT SMILES

FOR HAITIAN KIDS A partnership between Operation Blessing and the Emmaus Dental Clinic is bringing dental health to rural communities of Haiti

Because of generous partners like you, a dental brigade was organized for the students at the OB-supported ENLA school to receive treatment by a team of dentists, nurses, and an OB physician. Each day began with a presentation on oral hygiene. Students were then treated as needed, including fluoride, restoration, fillings and more. Finally, you made it possible for each student to receive their own dental hygiene kit. The community is very grateful for this brigade and is excited to put into practice all of the new information they received about dental health!

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Jhonny received treatment for gingivitis, as well as a teeth cleaning and plaque removal. His mother is very grateful.

Madame Petit Homme is a mother of 8, and raising them alone. Thanks to you, her four school-aged children receive an education and dental care.


HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE! Help your neighbors through life’s storms. Visit operationblessing.org today.

operationblessing.org

977 Centerville Turnpike Virginia Beach, VA 23463 Copyright © 2019 by Operation Blessing

(800) 730-2537

Profile for Operation Blessing International

You're Sending Comfort in the Storms of Life – Blessings Magazine – August 2019  

Safe water for a mother in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai. Blessings is a monthly publication of Operation Blessing , sharing timely, inspiring...

You're Sending Comfort in the Storms of Life – Blessings Magazine – August 2019  

Safe water for a mother in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai. Blessings is a monthly publication of Operation Blessing , sharing timely, inspiring...